What I thunk:
1) Once again, the Arya / Hound scene is fantastic and Maisie Williams manages to bring more nuances to arguably the most developed character in the novels. That laugh was hilarious and chilling at the same time — she absolutely no longer gives any fucks. Of course, the question is — will she meet up with Sansa? I’m going to say no — that would preclude her from heading across the ocean like she does in the books, and that pretty much has to happen.
2) The Viper / Mountain fight did well to stick close to how it unfolds in the books. Oberyn is much more interesting on the show than he is in the books, and it was sad to see him go but hey, don’t get cocky, kid. And that head asplosion? I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest it was a bit too much. A good old-fashioned pummeling-to-death a al the books would have sufficed.
3) I’ve never been a Sansa fan, in the books or the show. People tell me she’s got these hidden reserves of strength but going back to season one she basically gets an innocent boy killed because of her priggishness. But last night she unleashes her inner Cersei and goes full sex-bomb. Me likey. But hey, I’m perverted like that.
4) Pretty obviously, shit’s about to get real at Castle Black. And here’s one of the few times where I think the show doesn’t do justice to the books — Ygritte is not a stone-cold killer in the novels. There’s a nuance to her. There’s a reason why, after years of grievances, the Wildlings have decided to attack. Seeing Rose Leslie mow down innocent women rather than sticking to the Night’s Watchmen, and fighting alongside cannibals (literally) makes me care about her less, and that’s a shame because in the novel her death is incredibly poignant. Next week (I’m assuming) her death will be a relief. I have no sympathy for the GoT Wildlings, as opposed to the SoFaI ones.
5) The Bran chapters are easily the most boring ones in the novels. Not surprisingly, an episode without Bran is one of the better ones.
6) Jorah Mormont has a sad. Yawn. This is precisely the point in the books where the whole Daenarys storyline pretty much grinds to a halt. I’m not sure what the HBO dudes could do to bring life to this material, because it’s dull dull dull and it’s going to remain so for the next two novels / 1,500 pages or so.
7) Speaking of (6) Grey Worm crush sub-plot (not really in the book) doesn’t do it for me. I mean, as Daenarys points out, it’s tough to see how a literal eunuch is going to develop strong sexual feelings. But maybe they just feel the need to add something, anything, to make the Daenarys storyling go somewhere. Meh.
8) Bran and Arya, or rather the actors playing them, are due for major growth-spurts IRL. Just sayin’.